How to Make a Banjo Resonator: A Step-By-Step Guide

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If you’re looking to make a banjo resonator, I’ve got the perfect step-by-step guide for you! Making a banjo resonator is an easy and fun process, and having one can really add a unique sound to your instrument. With just a few basic materials and tools, you can create a great-sounding resonator that will last you for years. In this article, I’ll walk you through the process of making a banjo resonator, so you can have your very own in no time. So, let’s get started!

Materials

Materials

  • Wooden banjo rim
  • Wooden banjo neck
  • Banjo head
  • Banjo tailpiece
  • Banjo strings
  • Resonator wood
  • Resonator binding
  • Resonator hardware
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Wood glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Finishing products

Understanding the Resonator

Understanding The Resonator

  • A resonator is a set of metal plates that vibrate to increase the volume of a banjo.
  • It is typically mounted on the back of the banjo and is made up of two metal plates.
  • The plates are separated by a distance, called the gap, and the two plates are connected by a bridge.
  • The bridge is connected to the banjo’s neck and head, and it is connected to the banjo’s tailpiece.
  • The plates are made of brass, bronze, aluminum, or another metal that has a high degree of stiffness and mass.
  • The size of the gap between the plates determines the tone and volume of the banjo.
  • The larger the gap, the louder the banjo will be.
  • The bridge and tailpiece can be adjusted to change the gap size.

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Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo
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Deering Artisan Goodtime II 5-String Resonator Banjo
  • Artisan Goodtime II 5-String Resonator Banjo
  • With a Bluegrass resonator back for projection, the Artisan Goodtime Two banjo has a 3-ply violin grade maple rim and produces a bright and clear tone that projects well and is louder than its open back counterpart
  • The Artisan Two is enhanced with a Rich Brown stain, white detailing and spikes at 7, 9, and 10
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Design Considerations

Design Considerations

Consideration Purpose
Wood Choice The type of wood used for the resonator affects the sound of the banjo.
Size and Shape The size and shape of the resonator affects the volume and tone of the banjo.
String Attachment The method of attaching the strings to the resonator affects the sound of the banjo.
Finish The type of finish used for the resonator affects the sound of the banjo.
Tuning The method of tuning the resonator affects the sound of the banjo.

Tools Needed

Tools Needed
A drill press, drill bits, a hacksaw, a coping saw, a rasp, sandpaper, clamps, a pencil, a ruler, a file, and a chisel. Additionally, you will need a router, a router table, and router bits. You will also need a soldering iron and solder, screws, glue, and a wood finish for the banjo resonator.

Cutting the Resonator

Cutting The Resonator

Step
Number
Description Tools Required
1 Measure and cut the resonator wood to the desired size and shape. Carpenter’s square, saw, measuring tape
2 Sand the edges of the resonator wood to smooth out any rough spots. Sandpaper, sanding block
3 Drill four small holes in the resonator wood. Drill, drill bit
4 Attach four screws to the resonator wood. Screwdriver, screws

Sanding and Prepping the Resonator

Sanding And Prepping The Resonator

Step Description
1 Carefully sand the resonator with fine-grit sandpaper, using a circular motion. This will help to smooth out any rough edges.
2 Use a fine-grit abrasive pad to sand the resonator in the same direction as the grain. This will help to remove any remaining imperfections.
3 Prep the resonator for staining by cleaning it with a tack cloth to remove any dust or debris.
4 Apply a coat of wood sealer to the resonator, using a foam brush or a lint-free cloth.
5 Allow the sealer to dry completely before proceeding.

Attaching the Resonator

Attaching The Resonator

  • Place the resonator on the back of the banjo and use a screwdriver to attach the resonator to the brackets on the back of the banjo.
  • Use the screws provided with the resonator to attach it to the brackets.
  • Attach the tension hoop to the resonator with the bolts provided.
  • Tighten the bolts with the screwdriver, making sure that the tension hoop is secure.
  • Tighten the nuts on the bolts to make sure they are secure.
  • Place the skin over the tension hoop and attach it to the brackets with the bolts.
  • Tighten the bolts with the screwdriver, making sure that the skin is secure.

Finishing the Resonator

Steps Instructions
1 Smooth the edges of the resonator with sandpaper. Sand in long strokes to avoid gouging the wood.
2 Stain the resonator with a wood stain of your choice. Let the stain sit for 30 minutes before wiping off the excess.
3 Apply a coat of clear wood finish to the resonator. Let the finish dry thoroughly before adding another coat.
4 Attach the resonator to the banjo using the screws and washers provided. Tighten the screws just enough to secure the resonator to the banjo.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Materials Are Needed to Make a Banjo Resonator?

A banjo resonator requires several materials to construct, including a hardwood board, a piece of hardwood veneer, a thin plywood circle, a banjo head, a banjo tailpiece, a banjo bridge, a banjo tension hoop, a banjo armrest, a banjo flange, screws, and glue. Additionally, a drill, a jigsaw, sandpaper, and other cutting tools are needed to complete the project.

What tools are required to construct a banjo resonator?

Tools required to construct a banjo resonator include a drill, saw, sanding block and paper, glue, an awl, clamps, and a router with a 1/4-inch roundover bit. Additionally, you will need a router table, a jigsaw, a chisel, a coping saw, a handsaw, a hand plane, and safety gear such as gloves and goggles. Finally, you will need a variety of tools to measure and mark the wood, such as a combination square, a ruler, and a pencil.

How do I install the hardware for the resonator?

Secure the resonator to the banjo rim using the special screws provided. The screws should fit through the holes in the rim and into the resonator. If the screws are too long, use a file to shorten them. Place the banjo tension hoop over the resonator and secure it to the rim with the hex nuts provided. Tighten the screws and nuts gradually, in an alternating pattern. Finally, attach the tailpiece to the rim with the screws provided.

What steps do I need to take to attach the resonator to the banjo?

Attach the resonator to the banjo using the screws included with the resonator. Place the resonator over the back of the banjo and line up the screw holes. Insert the screws and tighten with a screwdriver. Make sure the screws are tight and secure. Once the resonator is attached, finish the assembly by stringing the banjo.

How do I make sure the resonator is securely fastened to the banjo?

To ensure the resonator is securely fastened to the banjo, use screws or bolts to attach the resonator to the rim of the banjo. Make sure to use the right type of screws or bolts for the job. Use a screwdriver or wrench to tighten the screws or bolts until the resonator is firmly in place. Check for any loose screws or bolts, and tighten them if necessary.

Conclusion

Making a banjo resonator is an easy process that can be completed within a few hours. All you need is the right materials and tools. With the right measurements and techniques, you can make a resonator that will produce a beautiful sound. With a few basic tools and a bit of patience, you can make a banjo resonator that will last for many years.

References

About the author

Hi there! I’m Jack Little – an avid country music fan with tons of live country performances in the past. I used to play banjo in a country band with my best friend John Peters, who’s a true country harmonica master. Those were great years and I’m still mastering new banjo playing techniques, writing my own country songs and lyrics, and collecting banjos!

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